Diners returning to comfort food

Published 10:27 am Thursday, July 9, 2009

Niles Daily Star

EDWARDSBURG – Even in a down economy, people have to eat. The trend some restaurants are seeing is a return to traditional comfort food.
Sara Schaefer is more than happy with this trend. As the new chef for The Lucky Leprechaun Legends restaurant on M-62 in Edwardsburg, she is enjoying catering to those tastes.
One day in her first two weeks, she was in the kitchen mixing up her meatloaf. She adds onion some seasoning, bread, soy, ketchup, kind of like your mother used to make.
The meatloaf was to be a daily special item, as was her chicken mushroom supreme was the previous day.
Another day might be lasagna, or beef or turkey, spread over bread with potatoes with homemade gravy.
“Not fancy,” she said.
“I have worked at a lot of places and picked up things … and put it all together,” she said.
Sara is from South Bend, Ind, a Riley High School graduate, who is currently attending Ivy Tech for hospitality and restaurant management.
She has been cooking since her childhood and worked at Arby’s at age 14.
“I am very hands-on … I observe. A degree is important, but it is 90 percent experience.”
She has received experience from Logan’s Roadhouse, Applebees and the University of Notre Dame’s North Dining Hall.
At Notre Dame “I got a good understanding of cost control and catering,” she said. “They are great people … it was hard to leave. I wanted to get more into what I love.
“Simple is the key for me.”
Her special dishes have “worked well and the customers are very welcoming,” she added.
Soups though are her favorites to make. “Soups allow you to be creative. I don’t eat a lot, but I like making it,” she added.
Cheesy tortilla is her most favorite and “most challenging.”
Along with the daily specials, Sara will be making homemade breakfasts in the morning.
Legends, along with a new chef, has been completely remodeled with a sports bar theme, but the bar now more separated.
The restaurant wants to keep “loyal customers and attract people looking for reasonable pricing and home cooking,” Sara said. “They want to draw new ones in.”
Just losing her only sibling, a sister, to liver cancer, has taken a toll on Sara, but now she is back to seeking her passion.